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January 19, 2006

Perceptions of time and sound

I've just learned of a musical piece that is just mind-blowing. John Cage composed a piece in 1985 called "Organ2/ASLSP." A performance of it began in Halberstadt, Germany on September 9, 2001, in honor of Cage's 88th birthday. Here's the interesting thing about it - the performance is scheduled to last for 639 years. The first 17 months were rests, so the first notes weren't played until 2003. Great excitement ensues in May of this year, when 2 notes will be released within the same week!

One of the most interesting things about this piece is that I'm just now hearing about it. This is really an amazing undertaking! Try to imagine what would have been accomplished if they actually finish the performance! Just as a bit of perspective - most people (outside of historians and scholars, that is) don't even know music that was written 639 years ago. This date was chosen because one of the very first organs in existence was created in 1361 (not-so-coincidentally in Halberstadt, Germany). Violins weren't even invented yet. Neither were pianos. And here it is, barely heard of. Now I have something to sharpen my searching skills on. Be prepared for future information about this piece!

Just imagine what kind of world will exist when this piece is completed. Think of how much it's changed since 1361, even how much it's changed since 1961. I'm completely boggled!

As an aside, how did I hear about this? One of my husband's junior high school students read about it in Nickelodeon. Honestly!

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